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Glasgow, Scotland's largest city, is amid a long-term transformation from major maritime and industrial centre to a thriving but unpretentious cultural, design and sports hub. Previously bestowed the titles City of Culture (1990), City of Architecture and Design (1999) and Capital of Sport (2003), Glasgow will host the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
There are lavish Victorian and Edwardian buildings and civic squares in the city centre, and there's more metropolitan parkland here than in any other British city. If you stand with a map on a street corner, it's an invitation to the friendly locals to help you but keep your ears honed for conversation with them. Glaswegians speak quickly, often with a healthy dose of regional dialect thrown in. Engage a local long enough and you'll hear about the rivalry with Edinburgh and how Glasgow is really where the action is.
Here's a quick must-do list while you're in the city on the River Clyde:
- Visit Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum – it unashamedly but effectively shows life as it has been, and now is, in Glasgow
- See Glasgow Cathedral – a premier example of 15th-century Gothic architecture and the only mainland Scottish cathedral to have survived the Reformation
- Relax on Glasgow Green – founded by Royal Grant in 1450 and now a major open-air venue for concerts
- Listen to a local band – but you'll be spoiled for choice across genre; there are more than 130 gigs per week across Glasgow